Space Adventures facilitated two trips to the International Space Station for Seattle billionaire Charles Simonyi, in 2007 and 2009. (NASA Photo via Space Adventures)
More than 17 years after Space Adventures put its first millionaire client in orbit, and nearly nine years after getting its last one launched, the company is raising its profile in the commercial space game once more.
And this time, it’s aiming to be more than just a travel agent for the final frontier.
Virginia-based Space Adventures got its start in the late ’90s, and scored a coup in 2001 when it helped California millionaire Dennis Tito get to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Six more spaceflight participants followed, and Seattle billionaire Charles Simonyi went twice.
But the phase-out and retirement of the space shuttle fleet tightened up the market for Soyuz seats so much that Space Adventures’ last ride was sold in 2009. (Star soprano Sarah Brightman was due to fly in 2015 but had to bow out.)
For a time, the company sought to sell rides on a customized Soyuz that would go around the moon and back, for a list price of $150 million a seat. That effort fizzled ...